Caution: Quills may be sharp Circulation: 192,587,388 Issue: 653 | 11th day of Swimming, Y16
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Magic, Mountains and Mystery: Part Two


by 77thbigby

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The rainbow Lenny handed over a glass bottle about the size of a Neocola can. It looked empty but, after what Snar had requested she wasn't surprised. There was also a small scroll attached to the bottle. She understood that those were instructions, since she had never used the potion before.

     "Lure said that, since you weren't sure how long you would need it and he hadn't actually seen the egg, that he made the dosage one dropper full and should be applied only once every twenty-four hours. Of course, if you need more, just let him know," Tenos said.

     "Thank you, Tenos. I must get going," Snar said.

     "Safe traveling."

     "The same to you."

     With that, Snar turned away but soon ducked into a nearby doorway. After reading the directions thoroughly, she applied the invisibility potion to the egg, making sure it was completely covered. She held the now invisible egg for only a moment before putting it back in her pack. She wanted to be prepared for any eventuality, including that she may be separated from the egg. If that were the case, she definitely did not wish anyone to just stumble upon it.

     Snar could not do anything about her tail but she could plan the best possible way to do her job of protecting the egg. Wishing to continue her journey, Snar headed for the docks. She found a suitable ship, heading for Roo Island. It was a large cruise ship, having only stopped briefly in Altador for the last leg of the journey. The crowds on the ship were just like the crowds in Altador and, with the egg invisible and safe in her pack, it was as good as any other at the docks.

     Though, it was the first and last ship Snar had ended up at. None of the others got even remotely close to Faerieland. She wanted no further delays and she was resigned. After having a discussion with the captain, a pleasant pear Chia, Snar was able to gain passage on the cruise ship. There were no vacancies, so she did have to bunk with a spotted Kougress and a Royalboy Usul.

     Snar had no issues with her young roommates; they were bright and friendly. Snar was ever an optimist that planned for the worst. She hoped that the week long voyage would be uneventful but she wouldn't be surprised if something did happen. It was day two of the trip when that same familiar sense of dread she had felt in Altador washed over her. She was walking down a hallway with her roomies, Lillian Grace and Aaron.

     The two younger pets had persuaded Snar to get out and enjoy herself. She had left Liam in charge of protecting the egg back in the room. She had no intention of enjoying herself or staying away for half an hour. Her mind was with the egg and her job, unlike these young pets there to enjoy the cruise. So, when Snar felt that wave of apprehension, she froze, allowing her companions to continue on.

     Snar's hearing was sharp and they easily picked up the sound of her room door clicking shut. She turned and moved swiftly down the hall and took a right, her room being that first room on the right. The door was shut and Snar didn't hesitate to open it, pushing it wide. To her immense relief, the room was empty. Everything was as it had been when she left.

     When Liam saw Snar, he began to make rapid clicking noises. He was clearly distressed and Snar allowed him to hop on her trunk. Just to reassure herself, as well as Liam, Snar checked on the egg. That morning she had reapplied the invisibility potion so she couldn't see the egg but she knew it was there. As she moved, she spoke in a low, soothing voice to calm Liam.

     The blue Poppit stopped his clicking and remained on Snar's trunk. She had come to a decision. She took the pack, egg inside and headed out. On such a large ship, she needed help. She needed Liam with her and she didn't want to lug the pack around with her so there was only one safe place for the egg.

     Snar knocked on the captain's door. With nowhere else to turn and deciding to trust the captain, she had gone straight to the Chia's quarters. Thankfully, Captain Pyrus opened the door, surprised to see Snar of all pets. Ushering her in, Captain Pyrus settled at her desk, Snar seated across from her.

     "How may I help you, Snar," Captain Pyrus asked.

     Snar's brown gaze was serious as she said, "My possession isn't safe in my room. Since no one else has access, I believe that one of your crew is the potential thief."

     "Do you know who it is?"

     "No, but Liam does. With your permission, I'd like full access to your ship, so that Liam and I can find them."

     Liam chirped twice in the affirmative. Captain Pyrus took a deep breath, narrowed her eyes and pursed her lips in thought for a moment. Then, she leaned forward, steepling her fingers and inclining them to Snar.

     "I will grant you the permission," Captain Pyrus said.

     "Thank you. There is one more thing I must ask of you. Since Liam will be with me, I need you to protect the possession," Snar said.

     "Snar, its time you told me everything."

     Snar clenched her trunk, unsettling Liam, who moved to the captain's desk. She had known the captain would ask, it was only fair. However, if she told the captain everything, she would have no other choice but to trust the pear Chia completely. Yet, what else could she do? Snar unclenched her trunk and told Captain Pyrus everything.

     The pear Chia listened in silence as Snar talked. Then, she nodded once.

     "Thank you, Snar, for being honest with me. Now, I shall be honest with you. I am called Sweet Sarah but, in my youth, I was called Savage Sarah. I don't remember my life as a young yellow Chia. My earliest memories are of being raised on a pirate ship."

     "I could fight with the best of them. However, their lifestyle disgusted me. So, I left. It took years but slowly, I was able to become captain of a ship. Veggie Surprise! Is my ship now."

     "I've left my past in the past. Will you still trust me with the egg?"

     "Yes, I have no choice."

     "I have one last request. When you find the one of my crew that has tried to do this, then please bring them to me. I'd like to deal with them personally."

     "Of course. I understand. Thank you, Captain Pyrus."

     "Please, call me Sarah."

     With nothing more to say, the two pets rose to their feet and shook hands. Snar left her pack, with the egg nestled inside, on the captain's desk. Liam moved back to her trunk and they left. Snar moved quickly, purposefully. She wasn't' sure where to start but decided to work from the deck down.

     The Elephante and Poppit had made it down to the second deck of the ship where their room happened to be. This time, instead of turning right, Snar turned left. She felt that she was getting close and a few moments later, she flared her ears as they caught a faint sound. She stopped in front of a door marked STAIRS and opened it. She came upon the hunched, warty form of a brown Quiggle.

     To Snar's surprise, the Quiggle shook with silent tears. Liam hissed, surprising Snar even more. This was the would-be thief! The Quiggle hadn't known that she was no longer alone. With a startled gasp, she turned and would have fallen backwards down the stairs if Snar hadn't reached out to grab her and pull her back to safety.

     Snar shut the stairwell door. Tears streaked the Quiggle's face. Snar trusted Liam's judgment. This Quiggle had entered their room and had tried to take the egg. Yet, it didn't' add up.

     The brown Quiggle was a stark contrast from the Darigan Acara and blue Buzz.

     "What is your name," Snar asked.

     "Annora," the Quiggle responded, her voice quivering.

     "Come with me. Captain Pyrus and I must speak with you."

     The Quiggle nodded meekly. Snar herded her to the captain's quarters in silence. The captain sat at her desk, waving Annora to the other chair. Snar moved to stand beside Captain Pyrus. Annora's gaze flicked from one stern face to another, beads of sweat appearing on her lip.

     "Annora-," Captain Pyrus began.

     "You know! I recognize the Poppit! You have to understand I had no choice," Annora interrupted her captain, voice rising into a wail.

     "What do you mean you had no choice," Snar asked.

     "They threatened my family."

     "Who? Who threatened your family, Annora?"

     "I don't know. I never learned their names."

     "Can you tell me what they looked like?"

     "Just a camouflage Eyrie."

     Annora shook her head and buried her face in her hands. Captain Pyrus rose and moved to Annora's side. She put her arm over Annora.

     "Hey, it's OK. Everything is going to be fine. No harm done," Captain Pyrus said.

     "I'm sorry," Annora whispered.

     "Captain Pyrus is right. You didn't actually steal the egg. I can get a message off right now to get protection for your family," Snar said.

     "Thank you."

     Snar did just as she said she would. Annora slowly regained her composure. Snar took her leave, taking the egg with her. Another issue had been resolved. Small comfort when Snar knew full well that it would not be the last.

     The rest of the voyage was uneventful. Snar got through Neopia Central without incident. When she hired a cab to take her the rest of the way to Faerieland, she dared to believe that the remainder of the journey would be easy. She soon learned that she was mistaken. The cab came to an abrupt halt.

     "Stay with the egg, Liam," Snar said as she exited the cab.

     Liam clicked agreement. Outside, the massive red Uni pulling the cab had unattached himself from the cab poles. He stood in an attack posture, wings flared wide, thick neck lowered, horn pointed menacingly. Three pets, a checkered Cybunny, Darigan Grundo and electric Usul faced the cab; all of them were armed. The cab Uni squared off with the Cybunny, while Snar took the Grundo.

     The Usul headed for the cab. All three of the strangers had menace in their eyes. Snar hoped that Liam could cope with the Usul, at least until she or their cabbie could give him backup. For now, she focused on the Grundo. He had taken to the air, swinging nunchucks.

     The Grundo had an advantage being in the air but Snar had an advantage in weaponry. Nunchucks could only be used effectively at close range while her trunk and staff were both longer range weapons. The Grundo was hovering near Snar's head, swooping in to strike her head before getting back out of range. Snar tensed her trunk, waiting for her own chance. Then, she struck!

     The blue Elephante's trunk snaked into the air, wrapping firmly around the Grundo's torso, pinning his arms and wings. No matter how he struggled, he couldn't budge. Snar slammed the Grundo into the ground hard before giving one whack of her staff to knock him out. With one adversary out of the fight, Snar looked up at the red Uni.

     The red Uni's fur was covered in nicks and cuts, with streaks of darker red covering him. However, the checkered Cybunny was also knocked out. Snar turned her attention to the cab and, to her immense relief, the electric Usul was knocked out on the floor.

     "Well done, Liam. I knew I could depend on you," Snar said with a nod.

     Liam hiccupped, sitting on the seat beside the egg. He loved the job just as much as Snar did. That's what made them such good partners. Snar dragged the unconscious Usul out and laid her by her companions. She kicked out the Electro Sword the Usul had dropped.

     Then, Snar walked over to the red Uni cabbie, "We need to get you to the hospital. Do you think you'll make it?"

     "Yes, I'll manage. What about you? Are you alright," the Uni asked.

     "I'm fine. I've got a hard head."

     Then, along with Liam and the pack with the egg, began a slow walk back to N.C. Once at the hospital, the Gelert doctor saw to the cabbie's minor wounds. Being a doctor, he insisted on giving Snar a thorough exam, no matter that she refused. He gave her a prescription for pain reliever if she needed it. Afterwards, the red cabbie and Snar stood outside of the hospital.

     The red cabbie smiled ruefully at Snar, "I regret being unable to see you through the rest of your journey. I have taken the liberty of calling another capable in my stead."

     "Thank you," Snar said with a smile.

     "Don't thank me, yet. He is young, enthusiastic and still learning."

     Just then, a squelching, clip clopping sound reached Snar's ears. It was odd because it sounded like an Uni trotting through mud but that couldn't be the case. It was 122 degrees outside; there was no mud. The red cabbie was blocking Snar's view and she blinked in surprise, her large ears flaring out as her replacement cab drove up... or rather skidded. As the Uni stopped (the cab, that was, he still pranced in place, raring to go) gooey green gobs were sent flying.

     Snar shielded her face with her arm. She sent a bemused glance at the red cabbie. He flicked his ear expectantly, waiting for her to speak.

     "You understand the importance of my current job and I trust your judgment, friend. I did have my doubts when you listed this one's finer qualities."

     The large cabbie narrowed his eyes thoughtfully, flicking his bobbed tail, "Do you still have doubts?"

     "No, his color is defense enough, I feel sure. Not even the most ambitious will attack him."

     The new young cabbie was painted snot. He smiled, so eager that he almost wagged his tail with delight. Snar laughed and got into the covered cab.

     "May your journey be swift and your arrival safe. Farewell," the red Uni called as the snot cabbie trotted off.

     "Farewell," Snar called, waving.

     As Snar knew it would be, the rest of her journey to Faerieland was uneventful. Not only was her new cabbies' color helpful, she also believed that the Mysterious Forces were not stupid. They had tried to repeatedly to get the egg and had failed. Those three goons had been their last attempt; they wouldn't try anymore. Her new cabbie was inexperienced but Snar didn't mind giving him directions.

     It took longer than usual but others gave them a wide berth in the Faerie City, having no desire to be covered in snot. The snot Uni dropped Snar off in front of the Faerie Queen's castle. After getting clearance from the faerie guards at the entrance, Snar was able to head straight for the throne room. The Faerie Queen was standing before her throne as Snar entered, waiting for her. The Queen smiled benevolently at Snar as Snar bowed low in deepest respect.

     "Faerie Queen Fyora, I don't know if you remember who I am but my name is-," Snar began.

     "Snardell, the protection Elephante. Yes, I remember who you are," the Faerie Queen said with a slight incline of her head.

     "Almost a month ago, I was hired to protect an item in a village called Alabaster Glen. I arrived to find the village burned to the ground but I did find this," Snar began her tale, lowering the pack gently to the floor and removing the egg (she hadn't applied the invisibility potion that morning so it was clearly visible).

     The Faerie Queen had listened in silence until Snar removed the egg. Her pink gaze lit with interest as it rested on the egg.

     "May I," the Faerie Queen asked, extending her hands to the egg.

     "Of course," Snar said, handing it over.

     There were a few moments of silence as Queen Fyora ran her hands over the egg, studying it from every angle. Then, the queen smiled.

     "Almost three months ago I received a premonition that I would be meeting someone new. Someone powerful but young. This morning, I felt a new magic enter Faerieland. I have been tracking it, awaiting the arrival of this new magic source," Queen Fyora said.

     Snar was in awe of the queen's power. She had also been correct on this being the proper place for the egg. She filled in the queen on her entire journey. Queen Fyora's gaze darkened for a moment and her lips became a thin line.

     "You made the right decision, Snar. The egg will be safe here. Thank you for doing your duty protecting the egg and bringing it here. The faerie pet in this egg will be strong and needs to be raised carefully. It would have been a tragedy if these Mysterious Forces had gotten this egg," Queen Fyora said.

     Knowing that she had fulfilled her purpose and feeling immense relief at a job done correctly and done well, Snar bowed low to the Queen and left the throne room. She looked back only once at the egg before she headed off back to Neopia Central and home.

The End

 
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